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A sociological perspective on measuring social norms by means of strategy method experiments

Author

Listed:
  • Heiko Rauhut

    () (ETH Zurich, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology)

  • Fabian Winter

    (Max Planck Institute of Economics)

Abstract

The measurement of social norms plays a pivotal role in many social sciences. While economists predominantly conduct experiments, sociologists rather employ (factorial) surveys. Both methods, however, suffer from distinct weaknesses. Experiments, on the one hand, often fall short in the measurement of more complex elements, such as the conditionality or the level of consensus of social norms. Surveys, on the other, lack the ability to measure actual behavior. This paper argues that the so-called "strategy method" compensates for these weaknesses by combining the observational characteristic of experiments with the conditionality of factorial surveys. We can demonstrate the applicability of the strategy method for the measure- ment of conditional bargaining norms in the case of ultimatum games. To substantiate our claim, we conduct a methodological experiment in which we compare results for the strategy ultimatum game with those from a "conventional" ultimatum game. The strategy method yields higher levels of normative compliance in terms of rejecting "unfair" offers. We conclude that the strategy method rather measures normative expectations whereas the "conventional" ultimatum game the willingness to sacrifice own profits to adhere to these expectations. Our results are consistent with previous comparative research between factorial surveys and observational data.

Suggested Citation

  • Heiko Rauhut & Fabian Winter, 2009. "A sociological perspective on measuring social norms by means of strategy method experiments," Jena Economic Research Papers 2009-054, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2009-054
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Tobias Regner & Gerhard Riener, 2011. "Motivational Cherry Picking," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-029, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    2. Chavez, Alex K. & Bicchieri, Cristina, 2013. "Third-party sanctioning and compensation behavior: Findings from the ultimatum game," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 268-277.
    3. Luis Miller & Heiko Rauhut & Fabian Winter, 2011. "The emergence of norms from conflicts over just distributions," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-018, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    4. Fabian Winter, 2013. "Fairness norms can explain the emergence of specific cooperation norms in the Battle of the Prisoners Dilemma," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-016, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    5. Paolo Crosetto & Ori Weisel & Fabian Winter, 2012. "A flexible z-Tree implementation of the Social Value Orientation Slider Measure (Murphy et al. 2011) - Manual -," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-062, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    6. Alice Becker, 2013. "Accountability and the fairness bias: the effects of effort vs. luck," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 41(3), pages 685-699, September.
    7. Alice Becker, 2011. "Accountability and the fairness bias in the context of joint production: Effects of bonuses and opportunities," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-004, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    8. Fabian Winter & Mitesh Kataria, 2013. "You Are Who Your Friends Are: An Experiment on Trust and Homophily in Friendship Networks," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-044, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social norms; measurement; ultimatum game; strategy method; factorial surveys;

    JEL classification:

    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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